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SocialWorks is proud to partner with Sana Vita Studio to emphasize the importance of movement and exercise in self-care. SocialWorks and its My State of Mind initiative focus on providing mental wellness resources and education to youth and other people in Chicago. Visit MSOM to learn more about our programs and partners. Sana Vita Yoga & Pilates Studio is located at 1357 W Grand Ave in Chicago. See below for the list of free and upcoming pilates and yoga classes. Note that availability is limited and is first come, first serve.

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The Benefits of Movement Based Wellness

Exercise and physical activity are cornerstones of maintaining or improving mental health. Research shows that the positive effects of exercise for your body also benefit your brain, as daily movement can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help prevent depressive symptoms. While finding time in a busy day to exercise can be difficult, experts at the WHO organization, Whole Brain Health, recommend only 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. That’s only 20 minutes each day to have a positive impact on how you feel physically and mentally every day.

This month, SocialWorks and the My State of Mind initiative are partnering with Chicago based pilates and yoga studio, Sana Vita Studio, to promote the benefits of physical activity on mental health. Throughout the month, the dedicated instructors at Sana Vita will offer free wellness classes, which include either pilates or yoga.

In these classes, participants will learn simple and effective exercises to increase flexibility, strengthen and tone muscles, and improve focus with an emphasis on breath support. Both pilates and yoga are lighter-to-moderate impact exercises, and in addition to the physical movement, each provides additional benefits that can have a stabilizing and centering effect on your mental health, either directly or indirectly.

  • Stress Reduction: Both yoga and Pilates emphasize deep breathing and mindfulness, which can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  • Improved Mood: Regular practice of these disciplines can stimulate the release of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, which can lead to an improved mood.
  • Anxiety Management: The focus on breath control and meditation in yoga and the mind-body connection in Pilates can be effective tools for managing anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Enhanced Self-awareness: These practices encourage self-reflection and self-awareness, helping individuals gain a better understanding of their emotions and thought patterns.
  • Better Sleep: Practicing yoga and Pilates can improve the quality of sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing insomnia symptoms.
  • Boosted Confidence: As you progress in your practice and achieve physical and mental goals, it can boost your self-esteem and confidence.
  • Cognitive Benefits: Both disciplines involve concentration and mental engagement, which can enhance cognitive function, memory, and problem-solving skills.
  • Emotional Regulation: Yoga and Pilates help individuals develop emotional resilience and the ability to respond to challenging situations with greater emotional balance.
  • Social Support: Participating in group classes or communities centered around yoga or Pilates can provide a sense of belonging and social support, which is crucial for mental well-being.
  • Coping with Trauma: These practices can aid in healing from past trauma by providing a safe and non-judgmental space for processing emotions and building resilience.

Due to the less intense nature of the exercises, pilates and yoga are a natural fit for those looking to begin an exercise routine, regardless of age or ability. Movement from yoga and pilates are often used in rehabilitation from injury as well, as these exercises focus on loosening muscles, increasing flexibility, toning and building strength. Having a steady exercise regimen, even when recovering, will help maintain sound mental health throughout the process.